Rezoning for development

Carroll County: With sensitive environmental regulation, land by reservoir could be industrial.

April 02, 2001

WITH hope fading for resolving the impasse with Baltimore City, Carroll is moving cautiously to rezone for industrial use land in the Liberty Reservoir watershed.

How carefully the county manages development on that land, and protects the reservoir's drinking water from pollution, will be critical for the future of Carroll County and for regional cooperation.

Sensitive restrictions and buffers for industrial use of the land can reasonably ensure control of runoff, seepage and air pollution that could threaten the reservoir serving 1.8 million people.

The question is whether Carroll leaders will limit the kind of industrial use on that property and require strict pollution controls, or whether they will leave the decision to the owners.

Baltimore City insists that the land remain undeveloped, to protect the reservoir's water quality. Carroll insists on its sovereign right to manage its own land use.

There's no sign of compromise or solution in that standoff. To blunt the city's leverage the county commissioners plan to get new supplies from Piney Run Lake and a series of wells.

But Carroll, which will still use reservoir water, must guard the quality of the vast watershed, in any case. And it must not destroy the basis for cooperation with the city and Baltimore County by intemperate rezoning actions.

Careful environmental regulation will be needed, if the planning panel and the county commissioners eventually approve this sensitive rezoning proposal.

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